Air Quality

The City of Stockton is located in San Joaquin County, which has been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a “non-attainment” area for several air pollutants e.g. particulate matter, ozone. In general terms, this means that the air quality in San Joaquin County is poor and the air is not clean enough to meet certain air quality standards set forth by the EPA. While much of this pollution is generated by farming, agriculture and automobiles, maritime industry can be a source of pollutants as well. An estimated one-third of vessel emissions occur while they are at berth. While docked at the Port of Stockton vessels are required to shut off their main engines and use auxiliary diesel and steam engines to power refrigeration, lights, pumps and other functions.

As part of the Air Quality Program, the Port continuously looks for ways to reduce air emissions resulting from its operations. One example of how the Port reduces emissions is by replacing its dockside equipment with newer, clear-burning equipment. Through education and outreach to tenants and vessel operators, the Port encourages proper maintenance, operational controls and use of alternative fuels.

Program Goal

Proud of our diverse environmental programs, the Port remains focused on Delta preservation through habitat restoration, reducing impacts to dissolved oxygen within the river and minimizing levee erosion. Moving forward, the Port has a zero-emissions goal for all cargo handling equipment aiding in improved regional air quality.

Program Accomplishments

  • As part of the Healthy Air Living Campaign, the Port has teamed with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to develop and implement strategies that will result in real emission reductions. To this end, the Port’s Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution proclaiming July 7–13, 2008, Healthy Air Living Week. Some of the strategies to reduce air pollution include: on-site food service and dry-cleaning pick-up service to minimize vehicle trips; completion of an energy audit to identify areas where energy consumption can be reduced; and investigation of the feasibility of purchasing a video conferencing system that would minimize the need for Port staff to travel to various meetings.
  • The Port has replaced four older gasoline powered trucks with new, zero-emission electric vehicles for use on the docks.
  • The Port has retrofitted its diesel-powered cargo equipment with new emission control technologies to reduce emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. The Port is also working with tenants and the San Joaquin Valley Air District to re-power and/or retrofit their existing equipment with lower emitting engines for improved air quality.
  • The Port has installed shore-side electrical power for tugs which significantly reduces tug idling time and emissions.
  • During dredging activities, port contractors operate an electric rather than diesel-powered dredge. This reduces air emissions by using a clean, renewable energy source instead of burning fossil fuels.
  • The Port’s Truck Traffic Control Plan has been finalized. The Port has installed signage on Rough & Ready Island directing truck traffic to the Stockton Port Expressway. This will ease congestion and reduce emissions in the nearby Boggs Tract neighborhood.

Ongoing Activities

  • The Port assists ship operators with maintaining compliance, while docked in Port, by providing visible emissions monitoring and providing them with information on air quality standards in San Joaquin County.
  • The Port aids the San Joaquin Valley Air Quality Management District in enforcing regulations that prohibit excessive emissions from vessels that call at the Port by training Port staff to identify violators. Every six months the Port sends employees to Visible Emissions training to be re-certified to read air emissions in order to assist with vessel compliance and reduce air impacts.

Program Highlights

The Port has made significant steps towards our goal to “green” our entire fleet of cargo handling equipment. In early 2018, the Port partnered with San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) to acquire two zero-emission, multi-use DANNAR mobile power sources fitted with forklift, scissor lift, and dump capabilities. In 2019, the Port received these units and we have begun testing them against various common tasks at the Port. So far they’ve been utilized as forklifts against steel cargo and have performed very well, although battery/charger interface challenges have delayed an official demonstration. With CARB and SJVAPCD approval, the project has been extended through August 2020. The Port is grateful for the opportunity to integrate this important, emerging technology, even as we “work out the kinks,” and we look forward to putting the DANNARs to work full-time later this year. In addition to these units, a zero-emissions railcar mover has been ordered and is scheduled to arrive in March 2020.

Working in tandem with the Ports of Long Beach and Oakland, the Port of Stockton successfully competed for grant funding as part of CARB’s Zero and Near-Zero Emission Freight Facilities (ZANZEFF) Program to receive an additional 34 forklifts from XL Lifts, a company specializing in zero and low-emissions forklifts. In 2019, we received the first four lifts – two Wiggins Yard eBull lifts and two World indoor/outdoor lifts. The Wiggins Yard eBull is the industry’s first commercialized large capacity electric forklift manufactured exclusively in the United States. With a capacity of up to 44 tons, these mighty lifts will be powerhouses on our docks and in our warehouses. The World lifts have a capacity of ten tons, but what they lack in muscle, they more than make up for with agility. They boast a sharp turning radius for tight work areas and can be charged both indoors or outdoors, potentially saving valuable warehouse space. In addition to the equipment, the ZANZEFF program also includes a workforce development component with on-the-job training and curriculum being developed to support the deployment of this technology at local school districts and community colleges near the Port. This will help create increased job readiness and career opportunities in the electric vehicle and equipment industry right here in Stockton.

In addition to investments in green dockside equipment, the Port has invested considerable effort towards environmental issues in other areas, including an innovative approach towards invasive species mitigation. Arundo is an invasive giant reed that has spread throughout the San Joaquin Delta. Several aspects of arundo make it detrimental to the health of the Delta ecosystem. The reeds grow tall and spread and grow rapidly, wasting Delta water, destabilizing levees, and creating a fire hazard. Additionally, dense mature patches of arundo can limit access to the water for native species. In the past, arundo has been controlled with heavy use of herbicides, but a more environmentally-friendly approach is available: arundo wasps, a tiny 1 cm long black insect that is harmless to humans. These wasps feed and reproduce only on arundo, laying eggs in their chutes which usually lead to the death of the plant.

The Antioch Dunes Restoration Project (ADRP) is another example of the Port using environmentally sustainable methods to achieve important goals. Every year, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Port dredges the bottom of the Deep Water Shipping Channel to improve navigability, and starting in 2013 the Port has worked with USACE and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to deliver the dredged sand to the Antioch Dunes Wildlife Refuge to replenish habitat for endangered plant and insect species, including the Antioch Dunes Evening Primrose. The Port and its ADRP partners have completed the first cell of the restoration, holding approximately 40,000 cubic yards of sand material. The Antioch Dunes Evening Primrose has voluntarily re-vegetated the area and we’re happy to announce its population has come back to its highest level since the 1970s.

In 2019 the Port of Stockton was awarded Green Marine certification at their annual conference in Cleveland, Ohio. The certification from Green Marine, the largest voluntary environmental certification program for North America’s maritime industry, represents the Port’s steadfast commitment to continually reduce its environmental footprint. “The Port of Stockton exemplifies the type of forward-thinking and responsible operation that Green Marine recognizes with its certification. We commend them for achieving certification just months after signing up, and look forward to playing a role in their continued progress,” said David Bolduc, Green Marine’s executive director. The Port looks forward to a continued partnership with Green Marine into the future.